Did you know that January was National Soup Month? I certainly didn’t until I happened to see a Campbell’s Soup commercial the other day that said so. I googled it and apparently it is a “thing” in this country that is seemingly gaining steam, although I couldn’t find any other information about it except for that, which means it must have been cooked up by soup-industry lobbyists for the purpose of increasing sales. (All puns intended!)
Regardless of the month, soup has always been a staple meal in my family. My sisters and I grew up on the stuff. Practically everyday after school we ate a bowl of Campbell’s heated in the microwave and served with crackers, either Ritz or Saltines. My favorite was Chicken Noodle, Sister the First and Sister the Fourth preferred Chicken with Rice, and Sister the Third ate Cream of Mushroom doused in milk and mixed in the blender.
These days I don’t eat as much Campbell’s anymore, preferring instead to make my own. I still eat a lot of soup though, albeit not everyday and not just Chicken Noodle. And in celebration of the month of soup, I thought I would share a few of my favorites.
The first one I’d like to share and the one on my own table this week, is Potato. Why? Because it is BONE-CHILLINGLY COLD here in Alabama and nothing sticks to the bones better than potato soup. For the record, this recipe isn’t one of those gloopy milk-based varieties billed these days as Chunky, Hearty, Comforting or Loaded. It is rather a smoother, thinner, soupier kind like that served by McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola, Florida, from which I took inspiration. But don’t let the consistency fool you, it is very much filling and MM! MM! Good!
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 large stalks of celery, thinly sliced
3 large potatoes, 5 medium potatoes, or 7 small potatoes of your favorite variety, peeled or not, and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
7 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Melt butter in a stockpot over low heat.
- Add the onion and celery. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately twenty minutes.
- Add the potatoes and cook for a further fifteen minutes, covered and occasionally stirred as before.
- Add the chicken broth, salt and pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, covered or not, for thirty minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove from heat.
- Process soup in batches in a blender until smooth or alternatively mash with a potato masher directly in the pot.
- Serve with the topping of your choice, like cheese, bacon, green onions, chives, and/or sour cream, and